How To Answer The Hardest Questions About Your Job Search

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Person circling job in classifieds.

Finding “any” job is one thing; landing that job is something entirely different.

As a somewhat recent graduate, I hear a lot of the same questions from family and friends—or, heck, even strangers—about my job search. Most mean well, but honestly, it gets old hearing the same things over and over again.

These “interrogations” (that’s how they seem) may leave you feeling discouraged; however, I’ve come up with some answers that keep me optimistic. These may not be the “right” responses for you, but sometimes, just having a response helps most.


1. Did You Get A Job Yet?

The best way to answer is honestly: “No, not yet.” Straight and to the point.

Unfortunately, with this answer, more questions are sure to follow …

2. Why Don’t You Have a Job Yet?

If only you knew!

Just be honest about where you are in your search. If you are waiting on leads, tell them that. If you’re adjusting your résumé or cover letter for new opportunities, say that. Perhaps you are burnt out and taking some time off. Whatever the reason, remember you aren’t alone.

In 2012, unemployment for recent graduates was up to 44 percent, and CBS NY, has this rate currently at 36 percent. For many of my college graduate friends, it took about 3 to 6 months to find a job. Depending on your field, it might take even longer.

You can explain this to your questioner or, even better, nicely steer the conversation to a different topic. After all, you’re putting effort into getting a job, not impressing this person. If he or she can’t believe or understand that, it’s on them, not you.

3. What Are You Going To Do With Your Degree?

I usually get two reactions when I tell people I was an English writing major: “So, you’re going to be a teacher?” or “What kind of job are you going to get with that?”

Based on the response, I either decline politely (the former) or smile tightly (the latter). Yes, liberal art degrees are the butt of many jokes; however, I let these roll of my shoulders because I know where I am going.

The question behind this question is, “What’s your plan?” I have one I’m confident in: being an editor. I often get a positive reaction by answering with this strong stance. Some might dismiss your conviction, but don’t let them get you down. If you are determined and confident in your ability, you will make it.

For those who don’t know what you will do, that is OK too. Just have a plan to find out. Speak to your school’s career counselor or alumni with your degree about your options; there might be an opportunity you haven’t thought about.

4. Why Don’t You Take Any Job For Now?

This is the hardest question to answer, as it presumes someone could easily land “any” job. Lots of positions, including retail, restaurants, and even supposed entry-level positions, ask for previous experience.

However, for me, my response is all about sticking to my desired career path; I want to give it my all, which takes time. I have to tailor my résumé and cover letter to each job, personalizing and editing each to perfection. I also worry that if I don’t try for what I want to do now, I’ll be stuck in a job that isn’t where I want to be.

There are many reasons to go with when answering this question. Ultimately, choose the one that is right for you, and remember to be honest.

How would you answer these questions or others you received after graduation? Tell us about your experience in the comments!


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